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For Grades K-4 , week of Mar. 11, 2019

1. New Seuss on the Loose

Dr. Seuss is always a big part of National Reading Month in March because his birthday is celebrated on March 2. This month, Seuss fans got something extra to celebrate with the announcement that a new Dr. Seuss book will be coming out this fall. The book, called “Dr. Seuss’s Horse Museum,” is based on a story and drawings found in his California home 21 years after his death in 1991. The book celebrates art and “how we all see the world in different ways,” the Random House book company said in making the announcement. In the book, a friendly horse takes readers on a guided tour of an art museum featuring pictures of horses drawn by famous artists. The book will also feature favorite Dr. Seuss characters such as the Cat in the Hat, the Grinch Who Stole Christmas and Horton the Elephant. Different artists see the world in different ways. Dr. Seuss drew funny, silly pictures, but others draw pictures that are more realistic and true to life. What kind of artist are you? In the newspaper or online, find and study a photograph of a person or scene that interests you. Re-draw the scene in your own style and give it a creative title. Will your style be funny or serious, unusual or real? Share drawings with the class and discuss.

Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.

2. Bedtime Stories

Reading aloud is very important to young readers. When you read books aloud, you build skills for pronouncing words. And when you listen to stories read aloud, you build listening and vocabulary skills. To make sure students get to hear books read aloud, an elementary school principal in the state of Texas has launched a read-aloud program on Facebook. Every Tuesday night, principal Belinda George dresses up in pajamas and reads a bedtime story aloud for her students and their families. Called “Tucked-In Tuesdays,” the program is streamed live to viewers through the Facebook Live feature. It quickly became a hit at her school, and now it is attracting viewers from other schools — and even other states! “Kids will come up to me Wednesday and say, ‘Dr. George, I saw you in your PJs reading!” she told the Washington Post newspaper. She hopes her program will encourage families to read aloud together on nights when she is not online. Reading aloud is a great way to share stories. Pretend you are going to read a book that you like to a younger child. Write a “review” of the book for the newspaper, telling why you like it and why a younger child would like it. Don’t forget to mention pictures if they are part of the story.

Common Core State Standards: Writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

3. A Space Milestone

Space X is a private company that is seeking new ways to explore and travel in space. Space X was the first private company to send a spacecraft to the International Space Station, and now it has taken a huge step toward shuttling U.S astronauts there for America’s NASA space agency. This month Space X and NASA successfully launched a new space capsule for astronauts and docked it with the Space Station. No astronauts were on board the Crew Dragon capsule, but Space X and NASA hope to be taking astronauts on live flights by this summer. The Crew Dragon used its own navigation system to dock with the Space Station orbiting 200 miles above the Earth. Many nations are now planning missions to explore space or send humans into space. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one of these planned missions. Use what you read to write a paragraph explaining the goal of the mission, what challenges it faces and how soon it will take place.

Common Core State Standards: Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

4. A Mystery Fish

As much as scientists study the world’s oceans, they still hold many mysteries. Consider the sunfish that recently washed up on a California beach. Sunfish are not often seen ashore, so it was an unusual occurrence. And then it got really strange. This species of sunfish was identified as a hoodwinker sunfish, which ordinarily lives half a world away near the southern Pacific nations of Australia and New Zealand. The seven-foot sunfish was identified as a hoodwinker after scientists posted pictures of it online. A key for identifying it was its tail structure, which looks more like a flat boat rudder than an ordinary fish tail. When one expert saw the photos, she said “I nearly fell out of my chair,” CNN news reported. Still unknown is whether this sunfish was traveling alone or in a group. Also unknown is why it not only crossed the entire Pacific Ocean, but the Earth’s equator as well. Scientists are constantly discovering new things about wildlife and sea life. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a new wildlife discovery. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor telling why the discovery is important to scientists.

Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

5. One-Student Schools

In the state of Wyoming, many families live on farms and ranches far out in the country. That can make getting to school a problem for many students. But not for one kindergarten student who will be starting school in the fall. The Albany County School District has announced it will re-open a school next fall just to serve the kindergarten student. It will be the second one-student school operated by the district north of the city of Laramie, the Associated Press reported. Wyoming law requires on-site education for students when they can’t be transported to other schools. School officials say it will cost about $150,000 to educate the two students in single-student schools. Schools are often in the news for doing unusual things to help students. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one unusual approach. Use what you read to write a short editorial giving your view on how this approach will help students. Then discuss new things your school could try that would help students.

Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; responding thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarizing points of agreement and disagreement.